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Ques. 4. Could not any one acquainted with accounts, at any time on examining the account of the steamboat company, on the books of the railroad company, ascertain the precise state of the account between the two companies ?
Ans. The system adopted in keeping the accounts on the books of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac railroad company is plain and simple—and any one acquainted with accounts can at any time in a few minutes, ascertain, on examination, the precise state of the steamboat company's account with the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac railroad company.
Has a decision ever been pressed on any subject at any meeting of the board, when the members present were not prepared for the question, or when any member desired delay?
Ans. I do not know of any decision on any subject pressed at any meeting of the board when the members present were not prepared for the question, or desired delay.
Ques. 6. Is it not your opinion that the organization of the Norfolk and Port Walthall association, and the running of the Mount Vernon during the past season, between Acquia creek and Baltimore by the steamboat company, were measures of great importance to the interests of the railroad company, and do you not believe that but for the adoption and continuance of these measures, the railroad companies between Petersburg and Acquia creek would be obliged either to give up competing for the through travel, or to take it at such reduced rates as would make it impracticable to pay a dividend of six per cent. or even less to the stockholders ?
Ans. It is my opinion that the organization of the Norfolk and Port Walthall association, and the running of the Mount Vernon during the past season between Acquia creek and Baltimore by the steamboat company, were measures of the greatest importance to the best interests of the railroad company and the only mode which could be adopted in defence against the combinations of the bay and James river boat companies for the southern travel from Petersburg, the importance of which cannot be questioned, when we know of the large sums paid in putting down the Portsmouth railroad to secure the travel to Petersburg. The organization of the Port Walthall association, I fully concurred in as proper and necessary to enable the railroad company to retain this travel, which they are legitimately entitled to. Without this travel the income of the railroad company would be greatly diminished and I believe its dividends would be lessened below six per cent. in future.
Ques. 7. Please state your opinion as to the expediency of the arrangement made in 1844 between the companies on the inland line and Messrs. Jacob Peters & Co., for running stages on the Baltimore and Washington City turnpike?
Ans. The arrangement between the companies on the inland route and Messrs. Jacob Peters & Co., I am of opinion was expedient, and answered the purpose intended of reducing the fare on the Baltimore and Washington railroad, and proved highly beneficial to the companies on the inland route.
Ques. 8. In the testimony of Mr. J. M. Wickham it is stated, “I may here add, that regularly at every meeting of the board of directors of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac railroad company, I enquired of the president, Mr. Moncure Robinson, whether the Port Walthall association was paying expenses upon their undertaking, and that he regularly answered that they were about paying expenses, and that I had no suspicion that any other loss was incurring except that of the wear and tear of the boat, until Mr. Robinson, in the presence of this committee, acknowledged that a loss of about $ 6000 had been incurred upon the transaction." please state your recollection of Mr. Robinson's answers to enquiries made at the meetings of the board of directors, in regard to the operations of the Port Walthall association ?
Ans. I felt deeply interested in the measures taken in running the Augusta from Port Walthall to Norfolk, and frequently made enquiries from any person likely to give information on the subject; my object in making these enquiries was to ascertain nearly the amount of loss likely to be incurred, and the prospect of the future operations. I calculated on losing money, but when divided between the members of the association, the loss would be easily met, and finally result in gain fully equal to the risk encountered, and in the accomplishment of the object intended. I do not recollect any answer of Mr. Robinson at the board which was calculated to induce a belief that the boat was not incurring a loss.
Ques. 9. It is stated in the testimony of Mr. J. M. Wickham, that at the time of ordering the Mount Vernon, the president “proposed to build a boat in Philadelphia to be called the Mount Vernon, of great speed and adapted to ice navigation.” The Powhatan was stated to "be wholly unfitted for this purpose.” Did not the president on the contrary state to the board as a reason for ordering the Mount Vernon and selling the Augusta, that the Augusta was wholly unfitted for ice, and that another boat was wanted like the Powhatan, adapted both to winter and summer service, but of as high speed as was consistent with the qualities of an ice boat?
Ans. When the Mount Vernon was ordered, the president stated to the board as a reason for ordering the Mount Vernon, that the Augusta was wholly unfitted for ice; that another boat was wanted adapted both to winter and summer service, with as high speed as could be obtained consistent with the qualities of an ice boat. I knew the boat Powhatan had been expressly built for running in the Potomac river, winter and summer; that alterations and improvements had been made on her, and never heard of her being an inferior boat. The intention was to keep two boats ready on the Potomac; one as a relay to the other whenever required, and to make sale of the Augusta.
Was there ever an order of the board for employing either of the boats of the company on the Rappahannock, and has either of the company's boats ever been employed on that river, and was it not one of the purposes of the board in employing the Mount Vernon on the Potomac between Acquia creek and Baltimore to have this boat whilst she was employed within reach, and under their immediate control in the event of an accident to the Powhatan?
Ans. There never was an order of the board for employing either of the boats of the company on the Rappahannock, nor has either of the company's boats ever been employed on that river. The Mount Vernon when not wanted for Washington, as one boat only was required to make the daily trip, would necessarily be unemployed at Acquia creek wharf at an expense and damage probably nearly as great as if she were employed; therefore to have her ready and in good order for the Potomac service when required, the Mount Vernon was put in service to run semi-weekly to Baltimore without much additional expense, in aid of our exertions against the combinations for our travel, and would be ready for service when wanted for Washington. The boat left Acquia creek about 12 o'clock in the day, and returned the day after the next about 10 o'clock in the morning.
Ques. 11. Has not the Mount Vernon been constantly since she was built, at least three days of each week at Acquia creek?
Ans. I believe she has.
Ques. 12. In the testimony of Mr. J. M. Wickham it is stated: “I frequently reminded Mr. Robinson at the board of directors of the inconsistency of this arrangement, the fast boats being employed elsewhere, and the Powhatan, the slowest boat, and without any relay in case of accidents, being the only boat on the Potomac.” Have you any recollection of any such remarks at the board ?
Ans. I have no recollection of any such remarks.
Ques. 14. Was not the last dividend on the stock of the steamboat company declared by the president and directors, sitting as a board of directors of the steamboat company, without any additional order for the payment of the dividend being deemed necessary by the president and directors, sitting as a board of directors of the railroad company?
Ans. The last dividend on the stock of the steamboat company was declared by the president and directors sitting as a board of directors of the steamboat company, without any additional order for the payment of the dividend by the president and directors of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac railroad company, sitting as a board of directors of the company; it was well understood the dividend could be met; that the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac railroad company received all the income of the steamboat company, and paid all claims against it, and no further order on the subject was deemed necessary.
Ques. 15. Is it not the duty of the monthly committee to examine the books of the company as well as the account of monthly receipts and expenditures so far as they deem necessary ?
Ans. I believe the order of the board is for the committee monthly to examine the treasurer's accounts, which includes the books, so far as he may require to obtain any information respecting the affairs of the company.
Ques. 16. Has not Mr. M. Robinson's intercourse with the board of directors, as well as yourself, been always courteous and conciliatory?
Ans. As far as my knowledge extends Mr. Robinson's intercourse with the board of directors has been always courteous and conciliatory—to myself always so, and of a most friendly character.
Ques. 17. Has not any unpopularity of Mr. M. Robinson as president of the company been in your opinion mainly ascribable to his devotion to its interests?
Ans. I am of opinion that any unpopularity of Mr. Robinson as president of the company is ascribable to his inflexible and unceasing devotion to the interests of the company.
FRIDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 26, 1847.
The committee met pursuant to adjournment.
The counsel for the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac railroad company laid before the committee the answers of C. W. Macmurdo, to the interrogatories which had been propounded to him by a member of the joint committee, which were received by the committee and ordered to be printed.
On the motion of a member of the committee the following resolution was adopted :
Resolved, That S. S. Baxter the attorney general of the commonwealth, be requested to collect for the use of the committee, all existing documentary evidence touching the contract between the Petersburg railroad company and Francis E. Rives, relating to a certain contract whereby a portion of the Portsmouth and Roanoke railroad (the property of said Rives) was discontinued.
Also that he prepare fit and specific interrogatories to be propounded to the officers of the Petersburg railroad company, or to any other persons touching the said contract.
On motion the committee adjourned till to-morrow evening 4 o'clock.
Cross-interrogatories propounded to Mr. Macmurdo by John W. Syme.
Ques. 1. In your answer to question 1st, you do not state what was the fare between Richmond and Washington, and how it was divided, before your company became a part owner in the Potomac steamboat company. I wish to know if, under the agreement made between your company and the steamboat company, (in October 1842,) which you give as an answer, the fare was not divided between your company and the boat company, as follows:
And I wish to know also if, at the time the agreement was made, your company and the Richmond and Petersburg company and steamboat company, in connection with the Petersburg and Roanoke railroad company, were not dividing the fare on passengers going between Weldon and Baltimore, in the following ratio :
Ques. 2. I observe in the agreement, of which you give a copy in your answer to question 1st, it is stipulated that the steamboat company shall receive one dollar per passenger on all travel except the Fredericksburg travel and the Weldon travel, and on the Weldon travel as much per mile as the railroad company receives. Now if the Weldon ticket given above (D) is correct, it does not give the steamboat company this allowance; and I wish to know if your company, soon after that agreement was made, did not propose to the Petersburg and Roanoke railroad company, and insist that a new division of the Weldon ticket should be made ; and not being able to agree, did not your company refuse to consent to any form of arbitration except a reference of the question to a meeting of a director from each company; and did not a majority at that meeting, (held December 13, 1842,) to wit, the directors from the Richmond and Petersburg and steamboat companies and your company, propose and insist that the directors from the Petersburg and Roanoke railroad company should agree to a ticket embracing the above named principle? If you do not know what was done at that meeting, was not the following the ticket which they agreed on, and does it not give the steamboat company as much per mile as the railroads?
Potomac steamboat company,
In comparing this ticket with the former ticket, (D,) I observe that 50 cents of the Petersburg and Roanoke railroad company's fare is taken and divided between the other companies, to wit, 124 cents to the Richmond and
Petersburg company, and the balance to your company and the steamboat company. Now if this was not done to enable your company to pay the steamboat company as much per mile as the railroads, what was it done for? Did not the steamboat company get $ 2 25 in the first ticket (D), when they ran stages from Fredericksburg to Potomac creek, and was not the $2 40 given them in the second ticket after the railroad was finished to Acquia creek, and of course after they were saved the expense of running stages ? Was there any reasons why the boat company should be paid more for the Weldon travel than for the local travel ? Was there any difference ever made between this travel and the other travel previous to the date of the above named agreement—and if there was, was it not that the steamboat company received less of the Weldon travel than it did of the other—and is or was it not a general principle among the companies having through tickets to carry the travel coming from a greater distance at a less rate per mile than the travel going short distances ? As I observe in the above tickets, (A, B, C and D,) that the steamboat company receives three or four times as much of the fare of the Weldon ticket as of the local tickets, I wish to know what was the reason of this—if it was not to enable the boat company to carry the local travel as cheap as they did—and why the boat company cannot carry this travel now at the same rate ?
Ans. In order to answer intelligibly questions 1 and 2, so far as I can understand them, I will give a statement of facts in regard to the through tickets and fares at different times on the inland route.
When I became the treasurer of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac railroad company in 1840, the fare on through travel, or the travel between Weldon and points south of it, and Baltimore, was divided in the ratios given in page 372 of the last report of the Board of public works. Under this ratio it will be perceived when the Petersburg and Roanoke company received 3124 cents between Garysburg and Petersburg, that the railroad and steamboat companies received 562} cents between Richmond and Washington, with a proviso that however low the fare might be, the steamboat company should always be allowed 75 cents for conveying passengers between Fredericksburg and the landing on the Potomac before the commencement of the ratio of reduction. In addition, they were allowed to charge on all travellers between the 1st December and 1st April, whilst the steamboat was running, $ 4, and on all passengers when conveyed in stages $6 between Fredericksburg and Washington.
When the Petersburg road was about to be completed to Weldon, and the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac road was completed to Acquia creek, 14 miles beyond Fredericksburg, and ice boats put on the Potomac, so as to dispense entirely with staging in winter, it was thought by the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac company that there ought to be a new division of the fare on through travel; that much more in proportion had been done by the railroad and steamboat companies in perfecting the line between Richmond and Washington, and getting rid of any increased charge for stage fare in winter, than by the Petersburg company in merely extending their railroad some three miles between Petersburg and Weldon, and at their instance a meeting of delegates of the several companies between Weldon and Washington was held in Richmond on the 13th day of December 1842, at which meeting the Petersburg railroad company was represented by Mr. R. B. Bolling, the Richmond and Petersburg railroad company by Mr. H. Rhodes, the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac railroad company by Mr. James Bosher, and the steamboat company by Mr. M. N. Falls, who made the following award, under which the fare was afterwards divided, and which award appears to have been unanimous:
" The following rates of fare are recommended and agreed to for the combined railroad and steamboat companies: To the Petersburg and Roanoke company,
3 123 To the Richmond and Petersburg company,
1 371 To the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac company,
4 00 To the stage and steamboat company,
$ 10 50
"And if reduced or raised the above to be the ratio.
“ The above, if assented to by our respective companies, will go into effect as of the date of the completion of the railroad to Acquia creek.
M. N. FALLS.
It will be perceived from this award that when the Petersburg railroad company's fare on through travel between Weldon and Petersburg should be 3124 cents, the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac company's fare between Richmond and Acquia creek was to be $ 4, and the steamboat company's fare between Acquia creek and Washington $2 (instead of $3 60 to the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac road, and $2 40 to the steam
boat company, as stated in interrogatory No. 2). This fare, $ 2, (or in this ratio,) was the whole allowance for the steamboat portion of the route at all seasons of the year, instead of the former allowance of 225 cents in the summer, $ 4 in the winter months, and $ 6 when the traveller was conveyed in stages.
But under the operation of the agreement between the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac company and the steamboat company, which has already been laid before the committee, the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac company were bound to allow out of their own proportion of fare, to the steamboat company as much as would make the rates per mile, received by the two companies on the through travel equal; and on the other hand the steamboat company were bound to take the proportion on the Richmond and Petersburg travel stipulated in the same agreement. The motive with the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac company for being wil. ling to give a part of its own proportion of fare on the through travel to the steamboat company, whilst it required advantages on the Richmond and Petersburg travel, I understood to be the wish to give to the proprietors of the steamboat line, who were also the owners of the stage line between Baltimore and Wheeling, the strongest possible temptation to throw the southern or New Orleans and Mobile travel on the northern and southern line, instead of the line by Wheeling and the Ohio river; whilst no such motive operated with regard to the Richmond and Petersburg travel.
The above division of fare continued between the companies until the fall of 1844, when the Petersburg railroad company complaining of it, all the companies on the inland line agreed at their instance, and that of the Board of public works, to submit the subject of the division of fare on through travel to the Board of public works and to abide by their decision. The subject was yet under consideration by the board, when the cars ceased running on the Portsmouth railroad, soon after which, viz: on the 15th May 1845, the resolution of the president and directors of the Petersburg railroad company, given in page 396 of the report of the Board of public works, was sent to this and the other companies on the inland line, under which the Petersburg railroad company have since the 1st of the following month exacted their full fare on all travel passing over the lines of railroad north of them.
Ques. 3. In your answer to the second question, you do not state what is now the rate of fare from Richmond to Washington. Is it not $ 5 50—and was it not $ 5 all last year? Now, if I am correct in the ticket from Richmond to Washington, (A,) given in question 1, that ticket, if reduced to $5 according to the agreement, would give the steamboat company only 77 cents per passenger. But you state in your answer to question 2, that the steamboat company now receives one fourth of the fare, that is $1 25 of $5. This, if correct, shews that your company now allows the steamboat company 48 cents more per passenger on this travel than they did before they became a stockholder in it. One fourth of the ticket from Richmond to Baltimore, if the same now as it was in question 1, (B,) is $1 37 instead of 73 cents, and one fourth of the ticket, (C,) is $1 25 instead of 66 cents, shewing that your company now gives the steamboat company 64 cents more on the first, and 59 cents more on the second ticket than they did before. The average of these extra allowances is 57 cents. This multiplied into 26,330, the number of passengers which you say you carried in connection with the steamboat last year, shews that your company paid them $15,008 more under the present arrangement than you would have done under the old. But from this must be deducted the dividend of 12 per cent. which you say the boat company paid last year. This, on $ 23,000, the amount of stock held by your company, is $ 2760, which being deducted, leaves, if I am correct in my calculations, a loss of at least $12,000 per annum, which your company sustains from its present connection with the boat company. Now if I am wrong in these calculations, I hope you will point it out-and if this connection is as beneficial to your company as you understood it to be, you will please shew it in figures.
Ans. I have already said that under the arrangement last made between the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac company and the Potomac steamboat company, the railroad company gained about $ 4500. This results from the railroad company receiving under the arrangement three fourths of the whole mail pay between Richmond and Washington, as well as three fourths of the whole income from travel passing between the railroad and steamboat lines. Whereas, had the arrangement previously existing between the companies been continued, the steamboat company would have been entitled to its whole mail pay, which was more per mile after the ice boats were put on than that of the railroad company, and would have received larger proportions on much of the travel than the one fourth now allowed. The interrogatory seems to suppose that because the one fourth now allowed the steamboat company, gives more than it would have had on the travel on which it before received a minimum proportion, that therefore the railroad company loses the difference, not adverting to the fact that on much of the other travel, as well as for the transportation of the mail, the steamboat company would have received much more under the old arrangement than the new arrangement gives it.
Ques. 4. In your letter to the auditor of March 1845, you complain of the agents of the James river and bay steamboats being allowed to travel free on the Petersburg and Roanoke railroad, and you characterize it as an unprecedented thing; I wish to know if you and other agents of your company have never travelled free on the James river boats.
Ans. The letter to the second auditor referred to in this interrogatory complains of the course of the Petersburg company “in allowing the bay agents the use of their cars to solicit travel from the great mail route," and states that “such a course between connecting lines of railroad similarly situated, even where there are no com